November 29, 2018

Welcome to The Bridge News Section, a weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the United Methodist Church 

It’s Advent? It’s Advent! And it’s Not Just an Old Bible Story

Sometimes you know a thing, but it doesn’t strike you as highly significant until it’s said out loud. Sometimes you have heard a thing before, but you don’t fully realize the implications until you begin thinking about it more deeply. This is exactly what happened to me as a result of taking African United Methodists on the Fredericksburg Trolley tour. I guess I’ve been on the Fredericksburg Trolley tour three times, so I’ve heard the driver give the historic information before, but it really struck me like a ton of bricks on the latest tour ride.

Did you know, (or remember if you did know) that Fredericksburg, Virginia, on four different times in history has been the site of wars? Just let that sink in for a moment. The place where I now call home was the site of fighting, looting, killing, and burning causing flight that created refugees. Fredericksburg has bodies buried all around her as a result of the French & Indian War of 1754, the American Revolution of 1783, the War of 1812, and the American Civil War of 1861.
Letting these historic events sink in deep and thinking about the human cost brought to mind the fact that on four occasions citizens of my city became homeless, became refugees, and were forced to flee for safety.

This hit me like a ton of bricks for three reasons. It hit me hard because I simply can’t imagine a) me and my family having to take only what we could carry and flee on foot; b) fleeing from danger and having to rely solely on the kindness of strangers to survive; and c) running for dear life and hoping not to be injured or killed while seeking safety.

Could I do it like the Fredericksburg citizens did four times from 1754 to 1861? Could you do it? If you did have to flee, would you pray, and what would you pray for? If I had to flee, would my faith grow stronger and sustain me, or would it diminish? I confess that I have no idea where I’d go if I had to flee this area or (God forbid) this nation. If you were in this situation, where would you go?

I thank God that Americans are not at the point of facing what the Fredericksburg citizens have faced! But that too made me think.  How are we, the Christians in this nation doing at dealing with those who are fleeing?  Let me say that my perspective on responding to people fleeing from their homeland was shaped at an early age by  Central UM church (in Hampton, VA).  Central UMC modeled amazing hospitality after the Vietnam War by receiving more than 40 refugee families (almost 300 people) .  The preaching, teaching, bible study, and ministries at Central also solidified my understanding of what it means to live scripture.  I see this as important in today’s culture as so many Christians seem to disregard, distort, or ignore the Old and New Testament scriptures that tells us how to treat strangers in our land.  

This week I thought I’d share what hit me really hard and caused me to think deeply. I’m not sure what to do with it or about it, but I’m sure God dropped this on me for a reason.  If you’re reading this and not thinking about Joseph and Mary fleeing, you might want to stop what you are doing and pick up a bible. 

Leviticus 19:33:
"Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land."

“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong."

Hebrews 13:2 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Pastor Ted
S/PPR Training for 2019
Please mark your calendars:

Saturday, January 12, 2019
Trinity UMC
9425 King’s Highway,
King George
All committee members are welcome to attend. Please RSVP to District Office before
January 1, 2019.
Youth Embracing Service (YES!)
Youth Embracing Service (YES!)
The Heartwood Center is organizing and sponsoring a monthly day of service and team building during the school year for Middle School and High School students. 
Every third Saturday of the month a service project, team building activities, recreation, Bible study and lunch will be scheduled. The first event will be Saturday, October 20 th  10am-3pm at 64 Hartwood Church Road, Fredericksburg 22471 ( behind the Hartwood Fire Station ).
Future dates: December 15, January 19, February 16, March 16, April 20, May 18.
All youth need to complete a registration. Go to: Adult volunteers are welcome.
Need more information? Email  or call 540.788.9838.  
Rev. Gayle Porias
Pastor Mount Horeb UMC
The Heartwood Center Director 
Rappahannock River District
Children and Youth Ministry Coordinator
Rehoboth United Methodist Church – Beaverdam, VA
At Rehoboth we are investing in our children and youth. We are looking for someone who is interested in teaching children and youth about the love of God.
This is a great part time-flexible schedule role for a faithful disciple to have an impact on children and their families. Our goal is to work with someone who can improve and build upon our existing children’s and youth ministries.
Schedule:  Part time, flexible hours. Sundays required. Participation in the full life of the church.
  • At home flexible preparation and planning time for events and curriculum preparation
  • Flexible schedule for stay at home parents, teachers or other professionals who have experience working with Children.
For more information
Music Director
Wright’s Chapel UMC, Ruther Glen, is looking for a part-time Music Director. Key duties include leading two Sunday morning traditional services and one contemporary service. To recruit, develop and engage members and musicians to be involved in the worship experience. Piano (Keyboard) and Singing skills are required. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at
Upcoming Events & Meetings:
November 29 Heartwood Board, St. Matthias
December 1 UMW Advent Prayer Breakfast, Fredericksburg UMC
December 3 Connectional Ministries, Wright's Chapel, 7:00pm
December 10 District Scholarship Team, Wright's Chapel, 7:00pm
December 11 Ordained Ministry, Wright's Chapel
December 12 Full Clergy Meeting, Wright's Chapel
December 13 ChurchLocation & Building Committee
December 16 Youth Council meets (two locations - see above)

District Superintendent: Rev. Dr. Theodore Smith
DS Email: Cell: 540.419.5131

2018 District Co-Lay Leader:
Debbie Dietrich

2018 & 2019 District Co-Lay Lay Leader:

2019 District Co-Lay Leader:

District Lay Servant Ministry Director  Dottie Garrison
Heartwood Director: Rev. Gayle Porias
Crossroads Minister: Rev. Mark Roscoe
District Secretary: Lynn Manley
Mailing Address: PO BOX 100, Ladysmith, VA 22501 Phone   804.448.8326     FAX        804.448.8328 Cell: 804.304.8566
Office Location: Inside Wright’s Chapel UMC at 8063 Ladysmith Road, Ruther Glen, VA (do not use for mail)